Amanda Gorman, the American poet and activist whose work focuses on issues of oppression and marginalization, writes, “The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.” Every day, those of us at Eternal Anchor bear witness to and journey with the children, young adults, parents, and families of the San Quintin Valley as they embody the courage and audacity to live into their futures with hope.
In this month’s newsletter, we share information about our new Social Enterprise Program, Eternal Anchor’s Residential Program, and provide an update about our Community Development Department.
We give thanks for each and every person, church, and business that has donated, prayed, and volunteered to make Eternal Anchor what it is today: An organization that is changing the narrative about what it means to nurture, love, and support those with disabilities and their families living in rural Mexico. We invite you to continue partnering with us as we grow and walk alongside more families in our state and country. Each of our programs has waitlists of children and adults with disabilities desperate for an education, therapy, mobility equipment, and an opportunity to use their gifts and talents. Your support and prayers are life-saving and a critical component of the work being done in the San Quintin Valley.
Six years ago, Eternal Anchor began a club for adults with special needs. Earlier this year, many of those same adults – now graduates of Eternal Anchor’s afternoon education program – entered our new Social Enterprise program. In just two short months, this new effort resulted in these incredibly beautiful, dedicated, and committed adults opening a plant and gift shop on the grounds of our residential homes and office, working at a local strawberry farm picking weeds and ensuring guides for the young plants were properly placed, entering an apprenticeship program at local restaurant A la Verde Limón, and much more.
“It is amazing to see the excellent work they are doing,” said Asvel Jasiel Reyes, director of Eternal Anchor’s Social Enterprise department. We place the emphasis on what a person can do, rather than what they cannot.” Known as the Artesanos, there are plans in place to open a local coffee shop/café later this year. “The past two months have been a great blessing for them, earning their won wages and partnering with local businesses to learn new skills,” said Asvel. “All of this combines to give the Artesanos a wonderful sense of accomplishment and self-worth.”
Eternal Anchor’s Community Development team lives out our commitment to advocate for and with those who have been marginalized by disability. Every month, this team of full-time professionals – including a physical therapist, social worker, and mobility equipment specialists – make an average of more than 30 home visits throughout the San Quintin Valley to assess needs, modify or build mobility equipment, deliver and fit that much-needed equipment, and provide consultation services to families. Community Development also operates Eternal Anchor’s one-of-a-kind Adaptive Equipment Workshop, located at our Ranch in Lazaro Cardenas.
“We work to ensure that individuals and families in the communities we serve have access to quality medical, mobility, and therapy services for children and adults,” explained Leila Xanat Gómez, director of Community Development. “It’s exciting that we can make a real difference in a family’s quality of life. And it is important that people in our communities who have disabilities know that they are valuable and loved by God and God’s people.”
Our Residential program now has 14 children living in two homes with full-time house parents. That’s a lot! Earlier this year, we welcomed Pamela and Lily into our homes. Pamela (top left), who is 11, and 7-year-old Lily (bottom left) previously lived in a group home located in Tijuana. Today, the two girls have settled into life at Eternal Anchor, where they now live with the other children and young adults in their families.
In 2019, we were contacted by chid protective services. They had a 16-year-old girl with Down syndrome who needed immediate placement in a home. Last month, we joined Julia (right) to celebrate her 18th birthday! “It’s such a joy to have Julia in our home and to share our lives with her,” said Deborah Garcia, director of Eternal Anchor’s residential program. “To see her thrive in a loving environment where she feels safe enriches all of us.”
We recently made a policy change that will impact visitors to Eternal Anchor. “Our homes are private residences where we have children living who may be medically fragile and who are owed the same degree of privacy that any of us expect when in our own homes,” explained Deborah. As such, individual and group visitors to Eternal Anchor will not be given tours of the homes, but will be able to view a video that takes them inside each of the homes.